The Legacy of Rose Vaught – My Great-Grandmother

by Elizabeth Cain Johnson, the great-granddaughter of Rose Vaught. This tribute was written back in 2005 when Elizabeth as in high school.

My great-grandmother possessed energy, strength, and a keen recollection. Rose or Rosie, as everyone affectionately called her, lived a long life of 93 years, and died peacefully in her home in Bladenboro, North Carolina. As the matriarch of the Cain, Vaught, and Fisher families, we all grieved for her, but at the same time, we knew that she experienced eternal peace and comfort in the arms of her Lord in heaven. Even after her death, my loving Great-Grandmother Rose remains in my heart and mind each day as I strive to pursue a prayerful, thankful, and faithful spirit like hers.

Grandmother Rose

Everyone in the small town in eastern North Carolina knew Rose as “the lady with such a good heart.” This saying represented her prayer life that bled so deep for which many would reap the eternal benefits, especially my dad. I will always remember my dad praising the Lord for the prayers of his grandmother. In his rebellious years, my dad ran from the truths of the gospel. Nevertheless, Rose loyally prayed the scriptures for my dad so that he might turn from his sinful ways and embrace the light of Christ. Many other times the prayers of Rose reaped a bountiful harvest for her, her family, and her friends.

Another attribute of Rose, her thankfulness, shone vividly in her life. She always rejoiced despite her sorrows. Even in her old age with her aches and pains, Rose maintained a joyful and thankful spirit and praised the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful grace in her life. Rose seemed a great example of the person in Colossians 2:6, 7 who continued “to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Each time I asked her, “How are you, Rosie?” She would joyfully respond, “I am thankful. I am thankful!”

Throughout her life, Rose remained a faithful daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She never pretended to be someone she wasn’t. She stayed true to herself and to God her creator and redeemer. I realize now that her loyalty and devotion to her family brought security to the generations after her. God, in his own mercy, gave Rose the privilege of seeing many of her descendants. By proving faithful Rose created a unity of believers in her family for many generations to come.

Rose Vaught left a legacy of prayer, thankfulness, and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. In her passing, we understand in deeper ways the huge impact her life and joyful spirit had on each of us. From October 31, 1910, to January 17, 2004, her laughter and light-heartedness brightened the world. Even now I think of her often and wish I could have her smiles back again. I know that she would desire for me to not bring back the past but to press forward carrying the torch of our family heritage. Thus, the spirit of Great-Grandmama Rosie lives on in my life.

The short and simple prayer taped to my great-grandmother’s mirror in her bathroom summarizes everything I want for myself and my own family one day: “Day by day, dear Lord, of thee three things I pray: To see thee more clearer, to follow thee more nearly and to love thee more dearly. Day by day!”


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